The Burial at Thebes revives ancient Greek theatre

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The Burial at Thebes revives ancient Greek theatre

One of the advantages of producing classic works for the stage is the ability to reinterpret them and place them in modern settings. For this reason, theatre arts graduate students Ashley Gwillim and Amy Murray have chosen to perform The Burial at Thebes, a modernized version of Sophocles’ Antigone.

Gwillim and Murray  presented a performance Thurday night and  will perform Friday at 2 p.m. Saturday at 7:30 p.m. Tickets can be found at https://www.tickettailor.com/all-tickets/27568/568f/.

The rendition Gwillim and Murray will be showing, titled The Burial at Thebes: a Version of Sophocles’ Antigone, is a 2004 rewrite and adaptation by the Irish writer Seamus Heaney.

Gwillim said she and Murray read different plays and even several different versions of Antigone throughout the summer and first semester before deciding on Heaney’s version.

“[We] were looking for a classic work that we could take in a new direction for our thesis project, and Greek theatre was brought to our attention,” Gwillim said.

Their desire to approach the play from a different angle spurred Gwillim and Murray to select a modern approach. The modern costumes, Gwillim said, will be instrumental in developing the innovative direction this rendition of Antigone will be taking.

Among the many novel approaches The Burial at Thebes will be taking, an all-female chorus stands out as one of the most innovative one, as Gwillim said the Greek theatrical choruses are typically all-male.

Another twist will be a new seating arrangement; the audience will sit on Rodeheaver stage.

“It will have the close [feeling]  of Performance Hall with some of the grandness of [Rodeheaver Auditorium],” Gwillim said.

Set in the wake of the civil war, The Burial at Thebes tells the story of a woman who defies the commands of the new king of the city of Thebes, while he in turn is defies the decrees of the gods.  

The cast includes Nathan Pittack as Creon, Amy Murray as Antigone, Christiana Yasi as the Guard, Zach Daab as Haemon, Harry Miller as Tiresias and Gabrielle Prairie as Ismene.